No studio is ever complete without a solid rolling mill. Whether you want to roll wire, reduce the thickness of sheet metal, or simply get creative with pattern imprinting, you’ll need one of the best rolling mills for jewelry to get the job done.
However, you definitely want to get your money’s worth when buying a new jewelry rolling mill. The number of options available on the market today can be overwhelming, so to help you out, we reviewed our top 3 picks. All of our top recommendations offer excellent quality and performance – the main differences between them are their price, roller width, and additional features – so that you can find the option which suits your needs best.
Don’t forget to also read our buying guide at the end of our article, where we share some essential tips on how to choose the best rolling mill for jewelry.
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The Best Rolling Mills For Jewelry in 2020
The Pepetools Ultra Series 90mm combination rolling mill is an amazing tool for such a reasonable price. This model offers you great quality, decent roller dimensions, and a powerful reduction gearbox for optimized efficiency. It’s our favorite budget rolling mill.
The best aspects of this tool are its strength and durability, especially considering its price. The body of the Pepetools Ultra Series 90mm combination rolling mill is produced in the USA out of one-piece solid construction cast made from precision steel. Plus, the handle is forged and has an ergonomically designed wood cover.
It’s really hard to find the same build quality in products within the same price range. Cheaper models are typically made from lighter metals which offer less strength and durability. They’re also made to a much lower standard of precision and quality control. This is an excellent entry point to one of the best manufacturers on the market right now.
“Some of the best features of this mill are its strength and durability.”
It’s really easy to work with. That’s a big contrast with other affordable models. To maximize torque and provide more force with less effort, the Pepetools Ultra Series 90mm combination rolling mill comes with a 4:1 reduction gearbox machined from aircraft quality aluminum.
It’s plenty versatile for a lot of folks. The Pepetools Ultra Series 90MM combination rolling mill offers a decent surface area for both metal sheet or wire rolling tasks. The product has an overall roller width of 90mm. The flat area is 50mm, while the square grooves come from 0 to 4mm.
Unlike the Durston Mini 80mm combination rolling mill, the Pepetools Ultra Series 90mm combination rolling mill has no added extension rolls to give you an additional flat or wire surface area depending on your needs.
Because combination mills sacrifice surface area for more versatility, the extension rolls can compensate for this, allowing you to roll wider sheets of metal. If you need more surface area, think about investing in a rolling mill with extension rolls.
Durston’s mills are recognized globally for their reliability and versatility. It’s no wonder why this one is hailed by jewelers worldwide. The Mini C80 rolling mill is compact but extremely solid and powerful – a perfect example of why Durston is such an established brand in this marketplace.
The Durston Mini C80 rolling mill provides great precision, stability, and strength. It’s made in the U.K from high-quality, one-piece cast iron. Plus, it has a heavy, sturdy build and precision-hardened аnd ground rolls to 64RC.
To allow more flexibility and adapt to different jewelers’ needs, the Durston Mini 80mm comes with flat extension rollers of 5mm that have four half rounds. With this feature, you’ll be able to roll wider sheet metal pieces.
“The Durston Mini C80 rolling mill provides great precision and stability.”
The Durston Mini C80 rolling mill is very easy to operate. It has maintenance-free bearings and large, easy-to-read calibrated discs, making it a great choice for both beginners and professionals.
Although the extension flat rollers are a great addition, still, the Durston Mini C80 rolling mill has 80mm rolls with a diameter of 45mm. As a comparison, both Pepetools combination rolling mills reviewed here come with 90mm and 160mm rolls, respectively. So, this model offers the smallest surface area for sheet rolling, which can be a problem for anyone that works with wider metal sheets.
Although a relatively new product on the market, the Pepetools Ultra 160mm combination rolling mill has established itself as a tool that provides incredible versatility for jewelers who work on many different projects and pieces. It’s the largest mill in the Pepetools Ultra series, specifically designed for more strength and flexibility while working.
The Pepetools Ultra 160mm combination rolling mill produces maximum rolling efficiency with little physical force. The model is powered with a proprietary high torque with a ratio of about 4:1 and an additional high-speed gearbox.
“The model is powered with a proprietary high torque of about 4:1 and an additional high-speed gearbox.”
It’s extremely strong and durable, not to mention that it’s made in the USA. The Pepetools Ultra 160mm combination rolling mill is made from Ductile housing, providing a frame that’s dense, lightweight (agile), and stronger than the traditional “grey iron” cast found on the market today.
On top of all that, the product is specifically designed to adapt to many different projects, because it comes with massive 160mm-long rollers. The rollers have a 77mm flat area, square grooves from 1 to 6mm, and a roll width opening of 7mm – great dimensions for almost any task. Plus, the rollers have a superior 65mm diameter, allowing you to roll wire in many dimensions.
Built largely to provide more surface area, the Pepetools Ultra 160mm combination rolling mill is simply overkill for small studios and beginners. If you don’t work with bigger pieces of jewelry you probably don’t need that much capacity. Most folks will be perfectly happy with the Durston or the smaller Pepe above.
The ultimate choice for professionals who need a lot of versatility in their work is the Pepetools Ultra 160mm combination rolling mill. It’s an impressive tool – the 160mm long rollers make it suitable for wider projects. The 77mm flat area is more than adequate for larger metal sheets, while the 1 to 6mm square grooves offer incredible size range for wire rolling. It’s a great tool for larger and thicker sheet metals. Buying this tool might be a big investment, but you’ll get lifelong value for a variety of jewelry projects.
“The ultimate choice for professionals who need a lot of versatility in their work is the Pepetools Ultra 160mm combination rolling mill.”
However, not everyone can afford the Pepetools Ultra 160mm combination rolling mill. Plus, it’s a bulky machine not suitable for small studios, which is why the top pick for most jewelers is the Durston Mini C80 rolling mill.
Durston is a recognizable brand that stands for quality and longevity. This specific model is also relatively versatile for its size, because it comes with an extension of 5mm rollers, compensating for the short 80mm roller width. This Durston offers maintenance-free bearings and large, easy-to-read calibrated discs, making it a great choice for newcomers as well as longtime professionals.
“If you’re on a budget, the Pepetools Ultra Series offers a superior 90mm combination rolling mill for the price.”
If you’re on a budget, the Pepetools Ultra Series makes for a superior 90mm combination rolling mill that’s very reasonably priced. This model doesn’t lack strength nor durability, unlike many other models with a similar price tag. It’s ergonomically designed with a forged wooden handle for more comfort.
On top of that, it will make the whole rolling process easy on the hands with its 4:1 reduction gearbox and a decent 90mm roller width. It’s a great choice if you want maximum bang for your buck.
How To Choose The Best Rolling Mill For Jewelry
Buying the best rolling mill for jewelry is no easy task, but we’ll make it a lot simpler with our practical buying guide. We’ll cover everything you need to know to make the right decision.
Buying a rolling mill is a big investment that many jewelers will make only once in their career. You should think long and hard before deciding on a budget for this vital tool. If your circumstances allow, you should even consider saving some money so you can afford a higher-end model that fits all of your current and future needs.
Rolling mills vary greatly in price. You can get a decent budget pick for around $450, but if you want to invest in the best of the best, be prepared to fork out more than $1,000.
“The future of your career is another major factor you should consider when deciding on a budget.”
The future of your career is another major factor you should consider when deciding how much you’re willing to spend on a rolling mill. You might not need the most high-end product now, but a roller mill is a long term purchase. Where will you be in a couple of years, and how will your needs change? Think about this before committing to a product.
However, we are not always able to adjust our budget to our wishes and needs perfectly. This is the reason why we recommended the Pepetools Ultra Series 90MM combination rolling mill as a good value product for those not ready to splurge.
Jewelry rolling mills can have different types of rollers. Depending on your needs, you can choose from flat rollers, wire rollers, or a combination rolling mill with flat and wire rollers.
“Most jewelers prefer a combination rolling mill because they work with different materials.”
Flat rollers are used for reducing the thickness of sheet metal and imprinting patterns into the metal.
Wire rollers are used for rolling and reducing the diameter of a wire.
Combination rolling mills come with a roller that has a flat and groovy surface. Although more convenient, they sacrifice the width of the flat surface.
Most jewelers prefer a combination rolling mill because they work with different materials. It’s a lot more fitting to sacrifice some width than buy different rolling mills.
Rolling Mill Type
There are two types of rolling mills – electrical and manual. Although almost all smaller jewelry studios are equipped with a manual rolling mill, an electric one makes a lot of sense for a larger venture, as it allows for faster, large-scale production. Of course, it does cost a lot more than a manual rolling mill.
Having said that, we think that an old school manual rolling mill is more than enough for both amateurs and experienced professionals, which is why we only included manual rolling mills in this article.
Another important factor when choosing a jewelry rolling mill is the maximum roller width. The wider the roller, the more flexibility and working surface you have. This will tell you how wide of a metal piece you can work with or how many grooves for wire rolling you’ll get.
A rolling mill can come with or without extensions for adding more rollers on the side of the mill.
This is perfect for jewelers who work with flat or wire rollers most of the time, and want more width, but still occasionally need to work with different rollers.
“Before choosing a rolling mill, you should keep in mind the thickness of the stock you work with.”
Before choosing a rolling mill, you should keep in mind the thickness of the stock you work with. The maximum opening width of the rolling mill determines how thick a sheet or wire you can roll through.
A reduction gearbox reduces the physical force necessary to roll metal. Because rolling metal is extremely hard and takes a lot of force, you shouldn’t buy a rolling mill without reduction gears. The most common ratios of reduction gears on rolling mills are 6:1, 5:1, and 4:1.
A ratio of 6:1 means it takes six spins on the handle for the rolls to complete a single rotation.
All of our recommended products come with high-powered reduction gears with a ratio of about 4:1.
We hope that you found our reviews and buying guide for the best rolling mill for jewelry useful, and now you’re one step closer to making the right purchase. You can follow the title links to learn about each individual product’s price, in-depth specifications, and customer reviews.
If this isn’t the last jewelry-making tool on your shopping list, you can check out our entire buying guide collection to find all our recommended jewelry-making tools for 2020.